@heyhexx

Collaborators: Patsaraporn Liewatanakorn, Parvin Farahzadeh

Bartlett School of Architecture, Interactive Architecture Lab research project

@heyhexx is an ongoing thesis design project currently in development. Videos will be frequently updated on the project Vimeo page here.

@heyhexx is an interactive social media responsive robot puppet theatre installation. This installation acts as an intermediary tool between the digital and physical world, and aims to make the abstract concept of emotions, in the context of social media interaction, easily understandable by translating it into puppet theatre in the physical space. People can interact with Hexx the robot by sending it a tweet, which Hexx will analyse for the emotion contained within it. Hexx and the environment that it lives in (the set), will display physical behaviour in response to this emotion in real-time. At the same time, a video is taken of Hexx and its environment, and this video gets sent to the person who originally sent the tweet. The hope is that by interacting with Hexx, people will be able to grasp the emotions embedded in their messages sent on social media. The project is a combination of elements of puppetry theatre, robotics, real-time interaction, and data analytics.

For the interaction system, we have built automated software to stream incoming tweets that mention the twitter handle @heyhexx, and we then analyse these tweets for their emotion using IBM Watson’s Natural Language Understanding. The emotion then gets sent to the physical installation, and the software records a video in real time of the short theatre piece, and sends the video back through twitter.

 First Prototype System

First Prototype System

For the physical side of the installation, puppetry, theatre, mechanics, and paper craft are the main elements of the concept. The set is comprised of dynamic origami structures that can move and be animated to display different emotive behaviours through use of various mechanical techniques, such as motors and pulleys. The environment and Hexx are both inspired by marionette puppets, and Hexx is maneuvered around the circular stage by a collaborative industrial robot arm, to the various locations in Hexx’s world.

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We combine two primary emotions to create more complex emotions.

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